Indoor environments best for healthy shrimp

Aqua Aquaria India Speakers at the show said that the way forward in aquaculture is through indoor, totally controlled environments

Disease and market prices are the two main problems in shrimp farming, experts have declared at the Aqua Aquaria India (AAI) 2017 show.

Speaking during the ‘Advances & Innovations’ in shrimp farming portion of the event in Mangalore, India, professionals said that at a time when “disease happens in combination”, the way forward in aquaculture is through indoor, totally controlled environments.

“Apart from viruses, we now have to deal with an increase in bacterial infections caused by the warming of oceans. They are harder to control because they do not need animal carriers and can pass through the ocean currents,” said Robins McIntosh, a Thailand-based researcher. “Aquaculture is about clean water. New technologies must be backed by quality control and surveillance.”

Mr McIntosh pointed out that when production was hit in Thailand in 2011, it was technology that raised levels up again.

Delegates at the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) hosted event, held from 14-16 May, heard that as India is set to be the second largest shrimp producer next to China, now is a good time to learn from past mistakes made in Southeast Asian countries.

While India is expected to produce a large volume of shrimp in 2017, the average rate of farm produce survival is only 50%. Productivity is reducing year on year, said speakers at the event. This is because produce is being hit by white spot syndrome, which is the single largest pathogen affecting shrimp farming in India.

“This is going to be an era of responsible aquaculture,” said Shri S Chandrasekhar, area manager, India & South Asia, INVE Aquaculture, Thailand. “Nursery rearing reduces pathogens. Shrimps are more toxin-resistant and give rise to larger harvests. Thailand and Mexico have reaped the benefits of nursery farming; India could do the same.”

Aqua farmers should consider widening their scope from just shrimp farming to some other fishes like Asian seabass and tilapia, researchers also stressed

Discussing the work of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Aquaculture (RGCA), which works with MPEDA, RGCA project director, Dr Kandan, encouraged farmers to use technology to diversify their business and export Indian goods to other countries.

The RGCA has standardised the breeding and seed production of mangrove mud crab and its hatchery facility is the only one of its kind in India. “The technology took two years to standardise and now one million crabs are produced per annum,” Dr Kandan said.

RGCA has done similar research and technical work with Asian seabass, cobia, tilapia and scampi and has made the technology available for commercialisation.

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